One of the main reasons some friendships and relationships generally don't work out is a lack of boundaries (amongst other things). Do you have that person who asks for something that crosses boundaries expecting you to say yes? We all have a few of those. The truth is, if something makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say no. No, it is a complete sentence. I've had many failed friendships due to a lack of boundaries; I know a thing or two about avoiding getting to that point.
Below are five tips for maintaining healthy relationships...
Share your values and beliefs.
It's is crucial that everyone you are in a relationship with understands your values and belief system. If people don't know what's important to you, they will not know when they are offending you or crossing a boundary. Don't try to change yourself to accolade your friends or partner's belief system; instead, try openly talking about the things in common and what makes you different. It could be a very eye-opening conversation.
Being direct can be difficult, especially if you don't like conflict, like me. However, if you don't tell that person what's bothering you and making you uncomfortable at the moment, you are leaving room for resentment buildup. Next time a friend or a partner does say something that makes you feel uncomfortable, try addressing it at the moment by saying, "can we talk about this? I didn't like how what you just did/said made me feel". The point is to approach it kindly, leaving room for a healthy discussion. Maybe they honestly didn't know it bothered you. Please give them the benefit of the doubt, but do address it.
Going back to boundaries, if a request feels outside of your comfort zone, you have the right to say no. Don't compromise to accommodate the other person because you might end up resentful or feeling depleted. Saying no is uncomfortable, but it's necessary, so you don't find yourself overwhelmed and overextended all the time.
You might not always agree with your friends or significant other. Disagreements are normal; you are different people with different beliefs and values. Try being open-minded and hear them out. You might end up changing your mind or, at the minimum, learn a thing or two about that person.
Express Why They Are Important to You
There is no worse feeling than not having the opportunity to tell a loved one how much they mean to you. Whenever you have the chance, do tell your friends or partner why they are important to you, how much you love them, and why you are grateful to have them in your life. Putting love and gratitude as the basis of your relationship will help you navigate through any difficulties.
Money is usually a big topic for disagreement in many relationships. tune in to the latest episode of the Becoming Alpha Podcast where we discuss an approach to solving the relationship troubles around money conversations.
Remember to lead with kindness and compassion, but don't forget that healthy relationships start with you. Your approach to making your voice be heard is the difference in how your relationships evolve.
Laura Del Carmen is a mom, wife, and women's advocate. She has a strong commitment to women's empowerment, health & wellness, and diversity & inclusion. She also enjoys blogging about her travel adventures to over 35 countries and her journey through motherhood.